Cork writer Conor Ward's second installment..." />

Justin Barry “My Side” - Chapter 2

Posted on Sep 20, 2007 in Justin Barry - My Side


Justin Barry - My Side
Chapter 2

Friday lunchtime and the plans for the evening's entertainment are in full flizzow my nizzo, at least in my head anyway. Basically I got a group text from Paul Mac which was brief and straight to the point, no messing around, one word followed by a fairly thirsty looking question mark, "Gatts?". God love the guy, he's been doing some heavy-duty spadework with his lady friend of late, so much so that he hasn't had a dirty session with the boys for three solid weeks. And who am I to deny him the pleasure of staring longingly into my bleary eyes long into the early hours, as we debate the causes and consequences of the strength of the pound against the dollar.

Minor problem on a more micro-economics level though, namely that I haven't got the necessary fundage to finance my little foray out on the town, due to the fact that my monthly wages would hardly keep Keira Knightley in muesli for a week. Only one thing for it, yes you guessed it, Paddy P's for a little flutter and more specifically, the 1.40 at Goodwood. Its not exactly the Kentucky Derby but still the stuff that dreams are made of for the more battle-hardened punters out there. I heard some degenerate gambler on the bus home lastnight, talking about a "great tip" he got for an old nag called 'Summer of Love' in this race. Now that's hardly what you'd call the inside track by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a 3/1 chance so an ideal opportunity to turn a fifty into a nice two hundred big boys and go for a Royale With Cheese for the next two days.

Paddy's is crammed with the usual mix of drunk old fellas and optimistic yuppies like myself, all with the common purpose of making a quick score and avenging Paddy for our lost youth. With my bet placed, I can feel the nerves racing through my body. To be fair to my lad he's running a solid race, tucked in the pack behind the leaders not doing anything crazy. As they go round the closing bend he makes his play, galloping through to hit the front, go on you little dancer. But alas no, he gets pipped at the post by the favourite wouldn't you know, and schmuckboy here is minus the all-important warchest for an All-Ireland final weekend, that's just lovely.


As I walk back to the office with the weight of the world on my shoulders after such a sickening loss, Paul calls me, "I need my best troops with me out there tonight. I'm counting on you big dog". I feel bad about it but I request a raincheck, given that I'm in the throws of recession, but he's having none of it, "Do the words overdraft facility mean anything to you soldier". He has a solid point there, and in all fairness it ain't my style to bail out on a buddy when he needs me for an old knees-up. So I agree with him that I'll just have to tighten the belt i.e. ten cans of the finest Dutch imported brew and a pre-club naggin of Huzzar at his gaf. It's all good as his folks are away, so we can wet our whistles over at their pad in Blackrock, happy days.

With nothing else but some hardcore liquor on my mind, Friday afternoon is dragging big-style in the office. Emer is there to me, "You heading out tonight Just'?". I'm like, "Affirmative, my fellow work colleague". She goes, "Cool. Me and a few of the girls are probably heading to the Bodega, you should pop in there". Pop in eh, maybe I'll just do that. She has some majorly fit friends so I'm basically a stonewall certainty to be there, maybe even with gel in my hair if they're lucky. Daly heads for the door at around quarter to five as he's in "an absolutely mad rush to get home, needs to get changed for the annual golf dinner in Monkstown at seven". Tosspot. I'm practically on his coattails going out the door as I have my own bit of grooming to do for the evening ahead.

Paulie picks me up at seven bells anyway, quick stop off at the offy and we're tucked into a few cold ones at his place by half past. A few more of the boys arrive after a while so I lay down the law early doors, making it quite clear that all the talent will be in the Bodega. After a bit of heated debate on the subject, I eventually pull out the kicker, telling them that Emer has "about eight savage friends, all of whom are in the market for some serious physical interaction". Surprise, sur-fucking-prise, that seals the deal with the horny little bloodhounds.


I'm steamin' like Willie Beamen when he head into the club at twelve, but that's no excuse to rest on my laurels. So I head straight for the bar and hit myself with a nice double Southern on the rocks, which sends any concerns about sobering up firmly into row Z. I spot Emer with her friends at the far side of the bar so I decide to get down to the business end of proceedings. I stroll over in their direction, pretending not to see them of course and, as planned, Emer sees me and starts chatting. I'm trying not to be an eager beaver as she introduces me to the others, but then again the clock is ticking so I gotta pull something out of the fire here.

One of them, Sandra I think her name is, is an absolute minter, Eva Mendes type (not as tanned obviously), right up my alleyway I have to say. I'm working away like a Trojan with her, but just when I get the feeling she might be game-ball, all of a sudden up comes Timmy O'Connell and she's on him like a cheap suit on a hot day. What a cockblock. It seems they had been previously "acquainted", and even though he's barely said two words to her, she's buying him gatts and the works. No such luck for yours truly so I skulk off with a plan B in mind.

I see this fairly tasty-looking randomer and being absolutely locked, I have no problem getting the balls to go over to her and throw a shape or two. I'm there,"I like your top, very post-war Paris". Could I actually be any more full of shit?

She's there,"C'mere boiy, I don't care what you post to Paris at all leek". Right you are sweetcheeks,"Can I purchase you an alcoholic beverage?". She had no trouble understanding that one, the cute little fox, "Smirnoff Ice so tanks". I have to make another few minutes of small-talk with her, and then hey-presto, I'm lobbing the gob. Game - set - match, Barry. Unfortunately she takes off with her friends before two, so I'm left to reflect on what might have been, when I see Timmy and your one off out the door, dirty backstabbing bastard.

All set for the All-Ireland final on Sunday now anyway, a nice steamy afternoon in the battle cruiser for that one. Now I'm not the biggest GAA man in the world as you might have gathered by now, but what the hey just this once, COME ON YOOOO REBELS!!

Conor Ward

Click here to read more Justin...


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